East Bengal has been the bastion of Indian football. One of the most successful clubs in the country has drawn the best talentsboth on and off the pitch from not just India, but also outside the country.
Englishman Trevor Morgan was appointed head coach of the club in 2010 and he went on to help the Bengal side to two Federation Cups and a Super Cup,in addition to a semi-final appearancein the AFC Cup. He inherited a squad that struggled to sustain themselves consistently in the national league and built a side that finished league runners-up twice in three years.
Not surprisingly, when Morgan was appointed the assistant coach of Kerala BlastersFC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL), four of his seven buys on the first day of the domestic draft included the same players who played under him at East Bengal -MehtabHossain, who is undoubtedly the best Indian midfielder in the country, and defendersNirmalChettri, Gurwinder Singh and Sushanth Mathew.
On the second day of the draft, he picked goalkeeper SandipNandy and rounded it off by buying Penn Orji, SaumikDey, Ishfaq Ahmed and Renedy Singh.Given his familiarity with the conditions and working with Indian players, Morgan did not have to start from scratch and had already built a base for player-manager David James to work with.
“I know ATK (Atletico de Kolkata) have got some fan base from MohunBagan and East Bengal but I know that there’s a section of fans in East Bengal, who would root for me. We maybe underdogs but we are able to create upsets,”Morgan said on facing the Kolkata side.
With James playing as the Kerala keeper, it is Morgan who directs, guides and motivates his team from the touchline. After a slow start, they find themselves in the top-4 places in an ever-fluctuating league.A lot will depend on the East Bengal contingent here on and Morgan will be the leader of the pack.